My Journey To Nursing School…

January 30, 2015

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Nika van Iparen shares a first hand account of her journey to nursing school, from deciding to apply, through to her first day on a ward…

Gap Medics student Angela and her mentor in the pediatric department of Tosamaganga Hospital How it all started…


Let me introduce myself, my name is Nika and I’m a 17-year-old Dutch girl.

In my last year of secondary school, I had to choose a career. I had literally no idea what I wanted to be when I grew older, nor what I wanted to study. I considered pursuing music, art or theatre, but still had the feeling that maybe that wouldn’t really be my thing.

I sat down with my dad, and we had a conversation about nursing school. He studied nursing and graduated as a registered nurse. He told me about the things he learned and the experiences he had. It made me think that it could be the right choice for me. I found a course where you work in a hospital and study along side it.

At first it seemed really scary, but as I got used to the idea it became more appealing and felt like a good challenge. The thought of working whilst helping people at the same time gave me a good feeling.

The school I applied to was very small with a low annual intake, so I had to go through 3 rounds. The first round was writing a letter to the school. In that letter I had to discuss why I should be on that course and why I wanted to be a nurse. It was an easy question to me, I stumbled across it and totally fell for the idea of being a nurse and helping people. Also, I was definitely up for the challenge. Maybe that sounded cheesy, but I couldn’t explain it any better.

I was so pleased to hear I got through to the second round. This round round seemed like a job interview. I sat in a room with two nurse graduated who work as teachers and I had to convince them that they want me in their nursing school. I was so nervous and felt like the conversation wasn’t flowing and that it went really badly!

But I was wrong… That afternoon I received an email from the school, I got through! That meant that there was just one more round to go. It was a test in maths and Dutch language. I studied hard for the test because this was the final hurdle and I didn’t want to mess it up. I felt like I failed miserably in math, but Dutch language went amazing.

Three weeks later, I finally heard the news… I had been accepted, they wanted me in their school! I remember how happy I was. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get started.

The day was finally here… the first day of school.

I met my new classmates and I had a really good feeling about them. They were friendly and just as excited to get started as I was. I remembered that in secondary school everyone wasn’t always as motivated, myself included.

I started in a class with twelve students and one mentor. I found her, and still do, a really friendly, warm and helpful woman. The class, the mentor and the school felt like a safe place.

Everyone got placed at a unit within the hospital. My first day at the unit was one I will never forget. At that time I was 15 years old. Let me tell you a little bit about it. I recall I saw a man laid in bed with his head under the sheets and his feet on a cushion. A nurse from the unit told me that he was a psychiatric patient. The nurse, who I worked with that day, was entering his room. She told me it might be a better idea for me to stay and wait at the door. I heard him yelling and cursing at her, I had no idea why he was doing something like that. The nurse told me he didn’t want to take his medicine and he wanted to stay under the sheets like that, he got mad at her when she told him the reason why he should take his medicine. I had never experienced anything like that before.

Students learn how to find the brachial pulse in ThailandWhen I look back at that day, I realise how many things I have experienced and how much it has changed me, but in a really good way. My experience on the first day was such a tiny drop in the ocean compared to what I have experienced in the last year and a half.

I highly recommend studying to become a nurse to others. Being a nursing student is hard but believe me, it is an experience that no one can ever take away from you.I have made friends for life and met patients who I have learned so much from and will never forget.